Emergency rooms see a fair number of medical catastrophes each day; in fact, across America there are approximately 110 million annual emergency room visits. Doctors have to deal with deadly viruses, injuries, and other severe medical conditions on a day-to-day basis. But doctors at the Sheffield Teaching Hospital in the U.K. were forced to deal with a situation they’d never encountered before, when a man with a titanium ring stuck around an enlarged finger came to the hospital for help.
The ring had become stuck on the man’s finger after a long soak in the tub, which caused his finger to swell. The titanium then constricted his blood flow, causing the finger to swell even more.
NPR reports that emergency room personnel see issues with stuck rings — made from gold or silver — all the time. A tight ring can cause a restriction of the finger’s blood flow, which can lead to tissue death in the finger. The usual procedure is to use lubrication, elevate the hand, or try a method that involves wrapping a string around the finger and trying to pull the ring down with it.
Doctors at Sheffield tried all the normal methods, but unfortunately the titanium ring would not budge. Titanium metals are strong, light, and hypoallergenic, making them an ideal replacement for gold rings. However, this also means they are more difficult to remove.
Doctors tried increasingly desperate measures to help the man, even calling the fire department for specialized tools, but nothing seemed to work. After eight hours, they were finally able to cut the ring with a pair of bolt cutters from the surgery department.
”Once the ring had been split, it was then pulled apart by lateral traction on a pair of large paperclips,” said Dr. Andrej Salibi, in a report sent to the Emergency Medical Journal about the case.
Salibi also reported that the man’s finger was fine, and that he should make a full recovery.